Here we don’ t go again – Wrong turning on Bristol Rapid Bus
Bristol is in danger of losing government funding for a rapid guided bus network, the Liberal Democrats are warning.
Bristol and surrounding authorities could lose the funding because of the controversial choice of routes made in June 2007.
By artificially restricting the choice of routes to just the Bath-Bristol cycle path, we could end up losing funding if this route does not go ahead.
Liberal Democrats are calling for cycle path to be rejected as preferred option, and for all the original possible routes to be properly investigated.
Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Gary Hopkins, said:
“It is unfortunate that following the Greater Bristol Transport Study, central government restricted the choice of transport systems that they would back to effectively just buses, ruling out trams and trains. However, albeit with a restricted choice of transport we had got their backing for making progress”.
Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Steve Comer said:
“By going down a potential blind alley Councillor Bradshaw could well leave us in a position where we get no new transport improvements, and a lot of people will have been upset along the way.
Whilst it may be technically possible to squeeze the buses and cyclepath together for most of the route, we would lose the huge environmental and cultural benefits the path gives us.
We demand that officers are allowed to properly investigate the other alternative routes and that the public are not presented with yet another bogus ‘consultation'”.
The first key route was to link Emersons Green with Ashton Vale, and a choice of paths including one down the ring road and M32 were available.
Following the change of political administration in May 2007, the new Executive Councillors together with the representatives of various agencies, decided that the least problematic route would be down the cycle path, ex Bath-Bristol railway path. This was settled as the chosen route and all other choices were downgraded.
The ruling Labour administration did not inform other political parties or the general public for some months that they had a preferred route.
Since their preferred route came to light there has been widespread concern and anger. Bristol City Council Labour Executive Member, Cllr Mark Bradshaw, appears now to be trying to distance himself from the decision that he endorsed, despite the written records clearly showing his involvement since
Indeed, he chaired the meeting at which the decision was made.